Today we welcome LJ Duncan to discuss whether authors choose a genre or a genre chooses them, and in this context his new novel End of Pride (Soteria Trilogy#1).
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Luke Duncan on Genre and End of Pride
Do authors choose a genre to write, or does the genre choose them?
I was fortunate enough to be raised in a household filled with books. We read so many genres growing up. We read the literary classics of Dickens and Verne, cult classics like Kerouac and Dostoyevsky, to hard-hitting crime fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction and everything in between. As a writer, the downside to this broad range of interest meant it convoluted my approach to writing. I didn’t fall neatly into a genre, as many other writers do. For me, writing is an opportunity to let go of conservative boundaries and go where my thoughts take me. Sticking to a genre for the sake of commercial success felt a little too controlled. In the early stages of my writing life I didn’t want control, I wanted to ride the waves of the creative process.
I started off writing heavy-hitting crime fiction – unconventional and raw. The decision to take writing more seriously and focus on writing with a wider appeal came early in 2019. The commitment to self-publish blossomed from an unfamiliar valley of uncertainty and confusion into something tangible. Finally, after twelve months and countless hours of learning the game, my debut novel, End of Pride, is available to share with the world.
The road to self-publishing wasn’t easy. Before biting the proverbial bullet, I struggled with the idea of releasing my writing to the world, especially without any assistance. Self-doubt squashed any glorified dreams of writing success. Would people like what I wrote? Would it be good enough? I’m sure these uncertainties plague every writer from time to time.
Writing is such a personal creative art that it leaves nowhere to hide.
Sharing your writing with the world means laying yourself out on the table, vulnerable and exposed, allowing unrestricted audiences to poke you with their opinions. I’ve always been an outgoing person, extroverted and confidant, yet still for me, I needed to be mature enough to cope with that kind of exposure before sharing a title with the world. I needed a title that I loved and that I knew others would love too. I’m now confident in saying that End of Pride is that title.
Despite my love for early dystopian novels from the likes of Huxley, Bradbury and Orwell, I didn’t plan on the dystopian thriller genre to be my calling. Instead, I fell into it by chance, jotting down random ideas of what our ruthless future may look like. Those random ideas became a story idea, and then chapters flowed together before I suddenly had the blueprint of a trilogy.
End of Pride is set in near-future Australia after its geopolitical collapse.
The novel is a graphic look into a horrifyingly believable future in which the governing body revokes human rights and takes ownership of citizens. I found myself motivated by the characters and their pursuit of a meaningful existence. I felt drawn into the savage world that I created – a world complete with merciless antagonists, frightening government control and the undying power of human endurance. The novel is confronting, as I feel a good dystopian thriller should be, and paves the way for a long lineage of connected stories and sub-series.
Is it sci-fi? I guess so. Is it a thriller? Probably. Was it my intention from the beginning to write dystopian? Probably not.
One thing I do know is that with the help of the successes of titles like The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Handmaid’s Tale, dystopian has become a proud genre within itself. I found myself drawn to it because it maintains its ability to be relatable to the reader but there are no rules. The doors of creativity are always open. The dystopian genre has allowed me to bask in the creative freedom that I crave while also writing to a growing market. Now, as End of Pride appears on all leading online retailers, I feel proud to represent the dystopian genre.
End of Pride Book Synopsis
There are two choices in Soteria: follow the rules or die. Tyson Anderson refuses to conform. He needs a third choice.
It’s 2059. The air is toxic. The wealthy live underground in prison-like control while the less fortunate fend for themselves on the surface. Tyson is days away from taking part in the compulsory Marriage Lottery. Can he bring himself to marry a stranger, or will he attempt the impossible and try to escape Soteria?
Brie Kallas is searching for the same desperate freedom. On the run after committing murder, she faces the poisonous syndrome and barbaric vigilantes of the Earth’s surface, while trying to outwit the ruthless Humanist Union.
As their journeys bring them closer together their struggle for survival uncovers sinister truths and secret agendas. Will they find freedom or will they learn that in Soteria there will only ever be two choices?
End of Pride is a confronting dystopian thriller that propels readers into a future that’s horrifyingly believable.
(Duncan Press, October 2020)
Get your copy of End of Pride (Soteria Trilogy #1) from:
About the Author, L J Duncan
L J Duncan comes from a small town in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia. Having been raised in a family with a love and passion for reading and music, L J Duncan began to dabble in writing about half his life ago. It just wasn’t fiction – it was rap lyrics… Years of writing lyrics helped fuel the fire until his mid-twenties when he found he needed something more to keep the flames burning. L J Duncan began writing crime fiction and dystopian thrillers and now, in 2020 he finally has some titles to share with the world.
Outside of writing, L J Duncan is an adventurer at heart. His love for the rugged South Australian outback is only surpassed by his love for his wife and daughter. You can find them searching for the next wild adventure, the next empty stretch of coastline of the next mountain peak. For L J Duncan, a good book is like a wilderness adventure. It provides escapism. That’s what we all search for.